California State Legislature in Sacramento and outgoing Governor Jerry Brown recently passed and signed several bills into law that will make the Golden State more politically progressive. From net neutrality and gun control to combating gender inequalities in the workplace and police misconduct on the streets, California continues to redefine itself in the Trump era.
On September 30, the state passed its own net neutrality protections after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Ajit Pai repealed the federal policy, which was enacted under the Obama administration, between 2017 and 2018. The federal Justice Department under Jeff Sessions is already planning to sue the state because they say California’s own net neutrality law violates the interstate commerce clause which states only the federal government can regulate interstate commerce.
Net neutrality is a policy that requires internet service providers (ISPs) to grant equal access and speed to all internet data and prohibits data discrimination to ensure fair market competition among service providers. Pacific Northwestern states such as Washington and Oregon passed their own net neutrality laws similar to California’s.
California passed another law on September 30 mandating that all publicly traded companies based in the state include women on their corporate boards of directors. The law requires at least one female director to sit on the board of each public corporation by the end of 2019. These companies will need up to three female directors by the end of 2021, depending on the number of board seats in an individual corporation. California takes the lead nationally in policies that combat gender inequality and increase female representation in the workplace, similar to laws passed in places like Norway.
Combating crime and managing public safety were also on the state government’s legislative agenda this month. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Florida, Governor Brown signed new gun control measures, that raises the minimum age requirement to legally purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 years old. These measures also place a lifetime firearms ban on people who have been tried and convicted of domestic violence as well as those who were hospitalized more than once in a year for mental health issues. Also under these new regulations, any family members are permitted to ask local law enforcement to seize firearms from relatives they see as a threat to their family or the public. All applicants to by concealed gun permits under this law must complete at least 8 hours of gun safety training and take a live-fire exam to prove their ability. This law will also prohibit bump stocks and establish legal procedures for requiring all applicants for concealed gun permits to complete at least 8 hours of gun safety training and take a live-fire exam to prove their own ability, prohibiting bump stocks, and establishing legal procedures for handling ammunition seized by local law enforcement. Governor Brown also signed a new law that will allow public records regarding police conduct to be opened.
Because Governor Brown’s term limits are up until 2019 and his Lt. Governor, former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, is likely to be the next governor, the fight for progress will continue in the Golden State, despite White House opposition.
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